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McCoy to return at Punchestown

By Frank Brownlow

Champion jockey Tony McCoy will return to the saddle on Tuesday for the opening day of the Punchestown Festival after a crashing fall at Cheltenham yesterday.

The Ulsterman had been due to ride on the opening day of the Scottish Grand National meeting at Ayr today but will instead resume next week.

"I will not be riding anywhere over the weekend as it will be a case of taking things easy for a few days," confirmed McCoy.

"But the plan will be to be back in action at Punchestown where I will be riding for most of the week.

"I am very sore around the rib area but other than that I think I'm fine," added McCoy, who will be crowned champion jockey for a record 18th successive time next weekend.

McCoy had been booked to ride Armagh trainer Jim Lambe's Ballybogey in the opener and Larne handler Roy Wilson's Yes Tom in the fourth race today.

McCoy was also due to ride Eastlake at the Scottish track for his boss JP McManus.

The lucrative Punchestown Festival takes place from next Tuesday with McCoy riding several fancied horses for McManus.

McCoy was kept in hospital overnight for observation after parting company with the Nicky Henderson-trained Quantitativeeasing in the Barbury International Handicap Hurdle.

The gelding stumbled at the second flight, throwing McCoy to the ground.

While the 38-year-old was conscious after the fall, he had to be stretchered off the track and was given oxygen on his way to the medical room by ambulance.

Following assessment at the track, McCoy was taken to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, spending the night there.

A statement issued jointly by Dr Mark Allan of Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and Lisa Hancock of The Injured Jockeys Fund read: "Tony McCoy will stay in Gloucester Royal Hospital overnight after a heavy fall at Cheltenham.

"He has remained fully conscious and able to use all his limbs.

"We will continue routine observation overnight and fully expect him to be released tomorrow."

McCoy's tumble comes in the wake of the injury to Grand National winning jockey Ryan Mania on the day after he landed the big race on 66-1 outsider Auroras Encore.

Mania has made a full recovery after his fall at Hexham on April 7 and will be in action at Ayr today before trying to win the Scottish Grand National on Auroras Encore tomorrow, which would emulate Red Rum's 1974 double.BY frank brownlow

Belfast Telegraph


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